Pir Ghaib : A Medieval Observatory or a Vanished Saint’s Mausoleum?

 

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Some distance southwest of the Chauburji-Masjid, is a double-storeyed dilapidated rubble-built structure known as the “Pir Ghaib”, now falling within the compound of the Hindu Rao Hospital, Civil Lines, with a ‘Baoli’ in its neighbourhood.

Among its surviving remains, exist two narrow chambers giving access from the east and west, with other rooms on the north and south. There are two rooms on the second storey with openings on the east and minhrabs in the western wall, with pious exclamations incised above them on plaster. They appear to have been used as a mosque.

WHY THE NAME “PIR GHAIB”? In the northern apartment, a cenotaph lying east to west, commemorates, according to tradition, a “Pir”, a muslim saint who used this room as his ‘chillagah‘ or worshipping place. One day, he got vanished mysteriously from here and nobody could ever found him anywhere! From that day onwards, this monument got the name “Pir Ghaib” (where ‘Pir’ means a muslim saint and ‘Ghaib’ means to vanish, meaning “A Vanished Saint”).

The floor and the roof of the southern apartment are pierced by a hole, covered by a hollow masonry cylinder. Its purpose is not known, but it is believed to have been used for astronomical observations and may have some connection with the description of the place as Kushk-i-Jahan-Numa (world-showing palace) found in contemporary accounts.

The floor and the roof of the southern apartment are pierced by a hole, covered by a hollow masonry cylinder. Its purpose is not known, but it is believed to have been used for astronomical observations and may have some connection with the description of the place as ‘Kushk-i-Jahan-Numa’ (world-showing palace) found in contemporary accounts. There is also a ‘chhatri’ or a covering for covering this whole.

The structure was built by Feroze Shah Tughluq and forms part either of his Kushk-i-Shikar (hunting palace) or Kushk-i-Jahan-Numa. Sharf-ud-Din Ali Yazdi mentions that Timur visited Feroze Shah’s Palace called “Jahan-Numa”. Since then, this area was a part of the ridge jungles and had a lot of wildlife.

So, those of you, who consider themselves to be ‘Daredevils’, go and give this spooky place a visit once!